Concept

Sterling Hayden

Summary
Sterling Walter Hayden (born Sterling Relyea Walter; March 26, 1916 – May 23, 1986) was an American actor, author, sailor, model and soldier. A leading man for most of his career, he specialized in westerns and film noir throughout the 1950s, in films such as John Huston's The Asphalt Jungle (1950), Nicholas Ray's Johnny Guitar (1954), and Stanley Kubrick's The Killing (1956). He became noted for supporting roles in the 1960s, perhaps most memorably as General Jack D. Ripper in Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964). Hayden's success continued into the New Hollywood era, with roles such as Irish-American policeman Captain McCluskey in Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather (1972), alcoholic novelist Roger Wade in Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye (1973), and elderly peasant Leo Dalcò in Bernardo Bertolucci's 1900 (1976). With a distinctive "rapid-fire baritone" voice and standing at , he had a commanding screen presence in both leading and supporting roles. Hayden often professed a distaste for acting and used his earnings to finance his numerous voyages as a sailor. He was also a decorated Marine Corps officer and an Office of Strategic Services' agent during World War II. Hayden was born March 26, 1916, in Upper Montclair, New Jersey, to George and Frances Walter, who named him Sterling Relyea Walter. After his father died, he was adopted at age 9 by James Hayden and renamed Sterling Walter Hayden. As a child he lived in coastal towns of New England, and in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and Maine. He attended Wassookeag School in Dexter, Maine. Hayden dropped out of high school at the age of 16 and took a job as mate on a schooner. His first voyage was to Newport Beach, California, from New London, Connecticut. Later, he was a fisherman on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, ran a charter yacht, and served as a fireman on 11 trips to Cuba aboard a steamer. He skippered a trading schooner in the Caribbean after earning his master's license, and in 1937 he served as mate on a world cruise of the brigantine Yankee.
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